March 24, 1936
David Suzuki, now a world-renowned geneticist and environmentalist, spent his youth living with his family in the back of their dry cleaning business in Marpole, Canada. Suzuki’s family was sent to a Japanese internment camp in 1942 after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and Suzuki spent the remaining war years interned. Surviving these early struggles, Suzuki went on to study genetics at Amherst College in Massachusetts. He earned his PhD in Zoology from the University of Chicago, then returned to Canada to become a professor first at the University of Alberta, and later at the University of British Columbia.
Suzuki is known for his commitment and dedication to educating the public about the wonders of the natural world, as well as championing the cause to conserve natural resources. He hosted several television series, the most famous of which was The Nature of Things, a program that featured documentaries on a huge variety of science topics. His work focused on promoting interest in the natural world as well as presenting energy alternatives to help build a more environmentally conscious society. Suzuki is known for describing the wonders of nature in compelling programming to make natural mysteries accessible to the public.
In 1990 Suzuki co-founded the David Suzuki foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to finding strategies and solutions for conserving the natural world. Suzuki’s goals for the foundation were, “to find ways for society to live in balance with the natural world that sustains us.” His work has designated him a world leader in sustainable ecology, and his commitment has remained to educating the public through television and broadcasting. He has publicly criticized government leaders for failing to take action to protect the environment, and his strong opinions regarding the realities of global climate change have made him a controversial and influential spokesperson of the environmental cause.
Suzuki has received a variety of awards and distinctions for his work, including twenty honorary doctorates from Canadian, US, and Australian universities, and he now spends his retirement educating the pubic about the importance of preserving the natural world by suggesting everyday techniques to conserve energy.